Seeing from Above
Seeing from Above
All meaning and purpose originates in the mind of God.
Living in Colorado we are blessed with some breath taking views. We have 54 mountain peaks that are 14,000 ft. high or higher. We can literally stand and look out over the surrounding area with a birds eye view.
But what if we had the ability to see from an even higher viewpoint? No, I’m not talking about the views from an airplane or even from space. I think by now we have all seen photos of the view of the earth from the moon. Breathtaking! But, at the same time, we lose a view of each person from that vantage point. We don’t see their needs, their triumphs, or their struggles. We don’t feel their pain or their joy.
What if we could both see and feel from God’ point of view where He sees and feels for each individual and at the same time He sees the overview of how they are connect in a web of relationships, challenges, struggles and triumphs? What if we could bring even a small bit of understanding from God’s view point into each and every daily encounter? Wouldn’t that change how we interact and relate to one another? To do that, here are some things to keep in mind.
First, understand God’s wisdom, plan, and priorities
All meaning and purpose originates in the mind of God. You are not the source of meaning and purpose for events. You don’t get to decide meaning and purpose. You are not going to think up God’s viewpoint on your own. It is something that God Himself has had to reveal to us by His Spirit by speaking through the prophets, apostles and by His son. The record of this revelation has been gathered together for us in what today we call the Bible. The business acumen, philosophies and advice of the world will not cut it.
In the book of Genesis, we read that Eve partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and gave it also to her husband Adam. When she did this, she made a great mistake because she substituted her understanding and assessment for God’s judgement of right and wrong (see Genesis 3: 6). This is a mistake that is made by billions of people to this day who, unwittingly, follow after her example, i.e. judging things based on pragmatism, aesthetics (beauty) and the wisdom of this age or of their own making.
Long ago, the prophet Isaiah put into words the great distance between how natural mankind thinks versus how the Lord God thinks. Isaiah wrote:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
We cannot possibly understand God and the reality He has created without reading and understanding what He has revealed in the writings of the Bible. These writings were inspired by God’s Spirit and reveal God’s thought and ways.
The apostle Paul describes God’s plan as follows;
“Things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
God’s plan for those who love Him is beyond our finding out without God having revealed them to us. This He has done through His Spirit.
10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10-11
Thus, our primary resource for seeing from God’s perspective is the written word of God, applied to our hearts and minds by the actions of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised a helper, the Holy Spirit, that would guide us into all truth (see John 14:7, 15:26, 16:13).
Second, beware of joining in with the agendas of the day
In every age and culture, there exists the schemes of men and women for political, social, intellectual and economic power. These agendas are almost always at odds with God’s agenda and can blind us to what God is really doing though various events. The quintessential example of this is the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. Paul writes of the ignorance of men’s agendas in the sentences just before the ones mentioned above. Paul wrote:
7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8
The religious and political leaders came together on a “politically correct” scheme in an attempt to “solve” what they thought was their problems by putting to death one Jesus of Nazareth, whom they did not understand, nor see that He was the very savior that they needed. But God was at work through their ignorant and angry plan to work salvation for us all. Who could have known all that God was doing in and through the crucifixion of Christ. Even Jesus’ disciples had trouble trying to comprehend what God was doing through that event. Even today, we are slow to understand all that God did and accomplished. If we had lived back then, would we have been caught up in the political and religious agenda that cried out “crucify him”?
Remember, when Jesus was on trial before Pilate, he said,
“My kingdom is not of this world… My kingdom is not of this realm.” John 18:36a,c
As Jesus was not trying to set up and earthly kingdom to rival Rome, he told Pilate that;
…If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over… John 18:36b
If the disciples had started a battle to “rescue” Jesus, they would have actually been fighting against the plan of God.
Third, keep God’s perspective in mind
We need to see all things from God’ perspective. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.
1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
Our problem in personal encounters is that we are most often focused on our own needs and agendas. These are shaped by, as Paul describes them, as “things that are on earth.” These could be own priorities, and the priorities of organizations we belong to, which are not necessarily God’s priorities and desires. This skews how we understand and respond to the people we come in contact with. If we are “in Christ”, and all believers are, we are effectively seated with Christ at the right hand of God the Father and can know His desires and viewpoint. We just need to keep seeking these rather than setting our desires on the agendas of this earth.
Note that “seeking” is an on-going process that takes place over time. But keep at it and you will be amazed at what God can do through your life. This is the process by which God can make you more mature in Christ and have positive impacts on others.
Fourth, see people through the eyes of the Spirit.
Paul also wrote to the church in Corinth;
16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; 2 Corinthians 5:16
It is easy to see people in terms of their outer man or the flesh. These are the most obvious things and don’t take spiritual discernment to know these things about a person. As a result, a lot of our interactions stay at this surface level. They don’t get down into a person’s spiritual condition. This surface understanding may include how a person looks, what they know, their title, what their talents are, and how good they are at talking with other people; i.e. the things the world usually takes into consideration when appraising a person.
It takes the Holy Spirit to know the true spirit of a person (1 Corinthians2:11, Romans 8:27). A person’s spiritual condition can often be sensed or revealed to us by the Spirit if we ourselves are walking in the Spirit and listening to the Spirit. But, we need to have our own spirit calmed so we can listen to the Holy Spirit, rather than come at encounters with our own agenda.
Seeing through the eyes of the Spirit is especially true of knowing other Christians, because as Paul states next;
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
We need to see each other in terms of what God is doing through the life of the other person and not in terms of whether that person helps us “meet our needs”, or whether we “like” that other person. Too often we seek out others to get “needs” met in our own lives. This can block relationships and effective ministry to others. The person who, on the surface, you find difficult may be a person God wants you to minister to or may be a person used by God to minister to you.
Fifth, we can have all our needs met in Christ
We will not be able to effectively minister to others if we are seeking to have our hopes, dreams, needs, and desires met through other people. Paul wrote to the Philippians;
19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Paul is not saying you will have all that (you think) you want or that life will always be easy. But he is saying that Christ will meet all your needs so you can be focus on ministering to others. This includes ministering to family, friends, associates, and strangers; to all you come in contact with. Ministry can be a simple as a smile, a word of encouragement, or a deeper involvement. But most often it starts with words. Therefore;
Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6
There is a lot to seeing things from God’s perspective and ministering to others in His name and power. But perhaps this is a start to understanding what we are to be about.
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation - www.lockman.org.)